Month Archives: January 2017

Action #19 - Adhere to the International Religious Freedom Act

by Family Research Council

January 16, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #19 - Adhere to the International Religious Freedom Act

The Obama administration was woefully resistant to protecting religious freedom in its foreign policy stance, and was late to describe the persecution of certain religious minorities as genocide. The new administration and Congress should promote religious freedoms throughout the federal government engaged in overseas activities by calling attention to the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-292, as amended by Public Law 106-55, Public Law 106-113, Public Law 107-228, Public Law 108-332, Public Law 108-458, Public Law 112-75, Public Law 113-271, and Public Law 114-71), and ensuring these laws are followed.

Loudoun Schools Say No to Sex Experiment

by Cathy Ruse

January 13, 2017

(EDITOR’S NOTE: A correction was made on 1/19/17 to the original post on 1/13/17)

Tuesday night in a 5-4 midnight vote, the Loudoun County School Board rejected a proposal to create a new identity category for transgenderism in its school system.

This is a big win in the “School Board Wars.” Loudoun is the second largest school district in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its proximity to Washington is also important.

The proposal was to add “gender identity” to the policy against harassment and discrimination. This is the genius of the latest wave of LGBT activism: when you wrap your agenda in the cloak of “nondiscrimination,” you win easy votes from those not paying attention, and gain a powerful rhetorical rejoinder. Anyone against you is, by definition, a bigot.

But these so-called “nondiscrimination” measures, cropping up everywhere, go well beyond preventing harassment. And that is by design.

In the case of Loudoun, they would have opened girls’ locker rooms, showers, and sports teams to biological males. Because denying the use of the girls’ shower to a boy who identifies as a girl can be said to be “discriminatory.”

In Fairfax County, which has adopted this new identity category, concerned parents dominate the citizen speaker slots at every bi-monthly board meeting. Sports moms speak of the physical danger their petite daughters now face, with the prospect of facing off against larger, heavier, stronger biological males on the sports field. Religious minorities tell tearful stories of pulling their children out of school. Women who have been victims of sexual assault speak of the trauma their younger counterparts will face as they are forced to share intimate spaces with biological males.

Adopting the new identity category of “gender identity” provides the legal club to beat all students and teachers into compliance with the broader transgender movement agenda—even to the point of silencing dissent and forcing unwanted speech.

What if kids want to start a “Male and Female He Created Them” club? What are the penalties for a Muslim child who addresses his biologically male teacher, “Sir”? Can a student’s Facebook post on the anti-science stance of the transgender movement get him in trouble? In Fairfax it can, according to one school board member.

In Fairfax, the school board is dominated by hardcore leftists. Loudoun County is different. Loudoun has several conservatives, a blue dog Democrat, apparently even a “reasonable” liberal.  

On Tuesday night, 500 people filled the Loudoun County School Board meeting room. A dozen police officers kept another 300 outside.

There were television cameras. And lots of young people with angry faces holding rainbows.

Most of the people were there for the Principal Brewer issue, involving the Dominion High School principal’s handling of a former band leader accused of sexually assaulting male teen students. 

Over 200 people spoke; each was allotted one minute.

When the matter was first sprung on the public in December, speakers in favor of the policy change outnumbered those against it by a margin of 10-1. But on Tuesday night things were different.

While about a dozen people argued for the nullification of male and female in Loudoun schools, a dozen others rose in opposition: A pastor, a priest, and a bunch of moms and dads. 

The Loudoun School Board forbids audible reactions from the audience. Only “silent applause” is allowed, which looks like a bunch of people wiggling “Jazz Hands” in the air. The new Chairman, Jeff Morse, reminding the audience of the rules, actually called it “Jazz Hands.”

There is no silent disapproval symbol. At least not one announced from the dais. (The obvious one is likely not permitted.)

The pastor speaking against the transgender measure got hissed. Which, technically, is not silent.

Since the December surprise, nearly 600 people had signed a petition against the policy change, generating 600 individual email letters to each board member urging a no vote. 

In addition, the Catholic Diocese of Arlington had alerted its Loudoun County parishes through flyers and emails.

All of this made a difference, and in the end, the measure failed by the smallest of margins.

But it failed.

Male” and “Female” live on in Loudoun County. For now.

Action #18 - Strengthen DOD Religious Freedom Protection

by Family Research Council

January 13, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #18 - Strengthen DOD Religious Freedom Protection

The Obama administration issued regulations (AFI 1-1, SECNAVINST 1730.8B, and AR 600- 20) that limited the standards articulated in Section 532 and 533 of the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act to protect expressions of belief reflecting conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs. The strict scrutiny standard of religious liberty protection concerning the least restrictive means as articulated in DOD Instruction 1300.17 should also be included in the Air Force directive. In addition, this directive should require the Air Force to remove Section 2.12 from AFI 1-1.

The new Congress and administration should also pressure the service chiefs to promulgate messages reaffirming the robust religious freedom and free speech rights of chaplains. These messages should include the articulation of such protections in Section 533 of the FY2013 and Section 532 of the FY2014 NDAA, and should note chaplains’ speech is not limited in the same manner that other government employee speech may be limited.

Action #17 - Rescind Common Core Requirements

by Family Research Council

January 12, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #17 - Rescind Common Core Requirements

The administration should rescind, in part, the letter regarding ESEA Flexibility, issued September 22, 2011, that allows for states to receive an exemption from key standards of No Child Left Behind. The letter added ambiguous requirements for states to receive a waiver, and used this waiver authority to allow the Department of Education to pressure states over educational standards related to curricula, such as with Common Core.

Action #16 - Defend the Freedom to Believe in Natural Marriage

by Family Research Council

January 11, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #16 - Defend the Freedom to Believe in Natural Marriage

The administration should issue an executive order protecting federal employees and contractors from discrimination by the executive branch on the basis of their view that marriage is between a man and a woman. In the wake of the Obergefell ruling redefining “marriage,” agency actions have put pressure on those who continue to support the stance President Obama had prior to 2013 that marriage is between one man and one woman.

Action #15 - Address Regulations Regarding Military Service of People Identifying as Transgender

by Family Research Council

January 10, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #15 - Address Regulations Regarding Military Service of People Identifying as Transgender

The Obama administration decided to change the long-standing regulatory policy excluding persons who identify as transgender to serve in the military. In conjunction with that decision, the Department of Defense issued a number of regulations that undermine troop readiness, recruitment, and retention. Examples of regulations that should be addressed include the June 30, 2016 “In-Service Transition for Transgender Service Members,” the July 29, 2016 “Guidance for Treatment of Gender Dysphoria for Active and Reserve Component Service Members,” and the September 30, 2016 handbook on transgender service in the U.S. Military.

Action #14 - Rescind Regulations Redefining Sex to Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

by Family Research Council

January 9, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #14 - Rescind Regulations Redefining Sex to Include Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

The Obama administration issued regulations redefining sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity for multiple agencies. These redefinitions have far-reaching implications for homeless shelters that received funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, renters of facilities managed by the General Services Administration, medical care providers, and private employers.

For example, the Department of Health and Human Services issued the May 18, 2016, “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities,” that defined “on the basis of sex” in Section 1557 of the Obamacare law to include “termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom” and “gender identity.” The rule states that it is discriminatory for a covered entity to deny or limit coverage “or impose additional cost sharing or other limitations or restrictions on coverage, for any health services that are ordinarily or exclusively available to individuals of one sex, to a transgender individual.” It also prohibits covered entities from categorically excluding gender transitions from coverage, and from denying or limiting coverage or imposing additional costs for specific health services related to gender transition if such denial, limitation, or restriction results in discrimination against a transgender individual.

Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a resource guide addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, in June of 2015, which prohibits private employers from taking sexual orientation and gender identity into consideration in the hiring and termination of employees. All of these regulations should be rescinded.

Action #13 - Take Down the Title IX Waiver List

by Family Research Council

January 6, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #13 - Take Down the Title IX Waiver List

In accordance with the Obama administration’s hostility toward religion, and in response to requests from the Human Rights Campaign, the Department of Education issued a black list of religious institutions of higher education that requested waivers from Title IX requirements, as well as, in some cases, their applications and the Department’s responses. This list, linked from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights “Religious Exemption” page, should not be subject to public search and should be taken down.

Action #12 - Rescind Obama’s Title IX Bathroom Guidance

by Family Research Council

January 5, 2017

We are highlighting the top 20 ways that the Trump administration can address values issues in the first 100 days through administrative and agency actions in order to repair some of the damage that the Obama administration has inflicted on the dignity of life, natural marriage, and religious liberty.

Action #12 - Rescind Obama’s Title IX Bathroom Guidance

The Obama administration’s Department of Education issued guidance to redefine sex to include sexual orientation and gender identity for schools, which is currently being litigated. This guidance would force schools to allow boys into the shower rooms and bathrooms with girls and vice versa. It is possible for the new administration to rescind the May 13, 2016, “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students” and the May 2016 “Examples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting Transgender Students,” and to rescind parts of the April 29, 2014 “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence” and parts of the April 2015 “Title IX Resource Guide.”

Action #11 - Rescind Hospital Requirements Regarding Treatment of People Identifying as Transgender

by Family Research Council

January 3, 2017

On June 16, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a rule under the auspices of promoting innovation, flexibility, and improvement in patient care, but which is expected to require federally regulated health care entities to violate their conscience. The rule will force hospitals and other providers to implement policies to provide medical services related to gender identity or sexual orientation.

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